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Obit: Alex Glasgow (1935-2001)

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SALLY WHEATLEY


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Gervase 15 May 01 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 15 May 01 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 17 May 01 - 03:53 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 May 01 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Maureen Cummuskey 21 May 01 - 09:56 PM
mooman 22 May 01 - 03:47 AM
IanC 22 May 01 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,GuestrCed2 22 May 01 - 02:37 PM
Tam the man 29 Aug 05 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,leedstyke@yahoo.co.uk 26 Mar 06 - 03:52 AM
Les in Chorlton 26 Mar 06 - 08:13 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Mar 06 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: OBIT: Alex Glasgow
From: Gervase
Date: 15 May 01 - 10:52 AM

Shit but life's a weird cow at times. I was just reading this thread when I looked at the Guardian today - Under an obit for Douglas Adams, the death notices read:

GLASGOW. Alex - Songwriter (formerly of Gateshead) in Australia after a long illness on 13th May 2001. He will be sadly missed by his loving wife, his family and Isabelle, Malcolm and Jake.

There are some things you just don't want to read.


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Subject: RE: Alex Glasgow
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 15 May 01 - 10:58 AM

Sad news, Gervase. I hope they do a proper Obit.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Alex Glasgow
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 May 01 - 03:53 AM

There is an obit in today's print version of the (UK) Guardian but the obit page of the Online Guardian seems to be down today.
RtS


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Subject: OBIT: Alex Glasgow
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 May 01 - 01:00 PM

Here's that obit. It's written by Alan Plater (see one or Roger's earlier posts). I'm pasting it in, in case the link expires.

From The Guardian, London, Thursday May 17,2001

Alex Glasgow
As the bard of Tyneside, his output ranged from angry polemic to tender love songs

One of the proudest moments in the life of Alex Glasgow, who has died aged 65 after a long illness, at his home in Fremantle, Western Australia, was when he heard a miner on the radio saying: "It's like the old song says... 'Close the Coalhouse Door, lads, there's blood inside'..."

The reason for his pride was simple: it wasn't an old song. Alex, a pitman's son from Gateshead, wrote it originally for a radio programme, and it later became the title song for the 1968 stage musical which Alex and I wrote, in partnership with the novelist and short story writer, Sid Chaplin.

It's one of many songs that have an enduring place in the psyche of the north-east and the Labour movement. There are probably a few old comrades in Sedgefield who can sing My Daddy Is A Left-wing Intellectual or The Socialist ABC:

A is for Alienation, that made me the man that I am And B's for the Boss who's a Bastard, a bourgeois who don't give a damn...

Alex was, in the words of his long-time friend and associate, Henry Livings, a supreme songmaker, but he was much else besides: a broadcaster on radio and television, a writer, a singer, a socialist and, to quote another of his songs, a proper man. He started his career in forces broadcasting and once had a record in the German charts, an experience echoed when his recording of Dance To Thi Daddy - the theme music of the BBC series, When The Boat Comes In, for which he wrote some memorable episodes - made it to the charts.

This revealed Alex at his most characteristic. He refused resolutely to go on Top of the Pops, or do guest shots on any television variety shows. "I'm not a bloody commodity," he said. Once, prior to an ideologically-acceptable appearance on television with Henry Livings, he was appalled when a make-up girl tried to cut his hair "to match the picture in the Radio Times".

"Leave my hair alone," he said. "I do not have a public image."

He was highly principled and wonderfully combative. I once said to him: "Alex - I think I'm the only one of your friends you've never had a row with," and he didn't disagree.

But friends and colleagues were united in admiration of his unique talent. In the theatre he collaborated with Stan Barstow and Henry Livings, and wrote Joe Lives, a wonderful one-man show for John Woodvine, about the great 19th-century Tyneside radical and songwriter, Joe Wilson. This work revealed the huge range in Alex's musical palette, from angry polemic to knees-up music-hall to love songs of surpassing tenderness: In The Night There Is A Garden, The Harlequin and Sally Wheatley are as lovely as anything written in the last 40 years. The obvious explanation is that they were inspired by a 40-year love affair with his wife, Paddy.

As a performer, maybe the most accurate description of him was chansonnier. He was multi-lingual and once spent an evening with Jake Thackray trying to work out the joke in a key verse of a Georges Brassens' song before making the triumphant discovery that the tag line was sung in French, but with a Belgian accent.

He figured if he was doing his job properly, he should always be in trouble. One year in the 1970s, when the Tories were having their conference in Blackpool, the delegates awoke to Alex's sweet tones singing on a North Region radio programme:

I'm going to sell a little bomb to South Africa

Just a teeny-weeny bomb to South Africa...

Questions were asked, Alex's head rolled, and several of his associates on the programme left in sympathy, out of old-fashioned solidarity: those were the days.

But even his nearest and dearest were shocked when, in 1981, he left his native Gateshead and moved to Fremantle. The year before, he and Henry Livings had appeared at the Perth Festival in their legendary road show, The Northern Drift, and Alex fell in love with the place.

He and Paddy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in mid-air on their way to a new life. He justified the move with his special brew of unchallengeable assertions. "They're wonderful people. They're all like Geordies. And do you realise, 70% of the world's wild flowers are in Western Australia?" His Letters from a Pom, and Henry Livings's replies, were a regular feature in the Guardian during the early period of his migration.

The last few years of his life were cursed with illness of a particularly cruel nature. He went bravely but not gently. Gentle wasn't his style, except within the family. He lived long enough to take photographs of his first grandchild.

He is survived by Paddy, and by his children, Richard, Daniel and Ruth.

• Alex Glasgow, songwriter, born October 14 1935; died May 14 2001


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Subject: Alex Glasgow
From: GUEST,Maureen Cummuskey
Date: 21 May 01 - 09:56 PM

Alex Glasgow

Songwriter 1935 - 2001

One of the proudest moments in the life of Alex Glasgow, who has died in Fremantle, aged 65, after a long illness, was when he heard a miner on the radio saying: "It's like the old song says, 'Close the coalhouse door, lads, there's blood inside'."

The reason for his pride was simple: it wasn't an old song. Glasgow, a pitman's son from Newcastle upon Tyne, wrote it originally for a radio program, and it later became the title song for the 1968 stage musical which Alex and I wrote, in partnership with the novelist and short-story writer Sid Chaplin.

It's one of many songs that have an enduring place in the psyche of England's north-east and the labour movement. There are probably a few old comrades in Sedgefield who can sing My Daddy Is A Left-wing Intellectual or The Socialist ABC:

A is for Alienation, that made me the man that I am

And B's for the boss who's a bastard, a bourgeois who don't give a damn ...

Glasgow was, in the words of his long-time friend and associate, Henry Livings, a supreme songmaker, but he was much else besides: a broadcaster on radio and television, a writer, a singer, a socialist and, to quote another of his songs, a proper man. He started his career in armed forces broadcasting and once had a record in the German charts, an experience echoed when his recording of Dance To Thi Daddy - the theme music of the BBC series When The Boat Comes In, for which he wrote some memorable episodes - made it to the charts.

This revealed Glasgow at his most characteristic. He refused resolutely to go on Top of the Pops, or do guest shots on any television variety shows. "I'm not a bloody commodity," he said. Once, before an ideologically acceptable appearance on television with Livings, he was appalled when a make-up girl tried to cut his hair "to match the picture in the Radio Times".

"Leave my hair alone," he said. "I do not have a public image."

He was highly principled and wonderfully combative. But friends and colleagues were united in admiration of his unique talent. In the theatre he collaborated with Stan Barstow and Henry Livings, and wrote Joe Lives, a wonderful one-man show for John Woodvine, about the great 19th-century Tyneside radical and songwriter, Joe Wilson. This work revealed the huge range in Glasgow's musical palette, from angry polemic to knees-up music-hall to love songs of surpassing tenderness: In The Night There Is A Garden, The Harlequin and Sally Wheatley are as lovely as anything written in the last 40 years. The obvious explanation is that they were inspired by a 40-year love affair with his wife, Paddy.

As a performer, maybe the most accurate description of him was chansonnier. And he figured if he was doing his job properly, he should always be in trouble. One year in the 1970s, when the Tories were having their conference in Blackpool, the delegates awoke to Glasgow's sweet tones singing on a North Region radio program:

I'm going to sell a little bomb to South Africa

Just a teeny-weeny bomb to South Africa ...

Questions were asked, Glasgow's head rolled, and several of his associates on the program left in sympathy, out of old-fashioned solidarity: those were the days.

But even his nearest and dearest were shocked when, in 1981, he left his native Gateshead and moved to Fremantle. The year before, he and Livings had appeared at the Perth Festival in their popular road show, The Northern Drift, and Glasgow fell in love with the place.

He and Paddy celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in mid-air on their way to a new life. He justified the move with his special brew of unchallengeable assertions. "They're wonderful people. They're all like Geordies. And do you realise, 70 per cent of the world's wildflowers are in Western Australia?" His Letters from a Pom, and Livings's replies, were a regular feature in The Guardian during the early period of his migration. He is survived by Paddy, sons Richard and Daniel and daughter Ruth.

The Guardian, London


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Subject: RE: Alex Glasgow
From: mooman
Date: 22 May 01 - 03:47 AM

Thanks for the post Maureen.

I was very sad to hear of his passing. The first time I heard him was him singing the theme song to the BBC television series "When the Boat Comes In" some decades ago. I still do that song today.

A great songwriter and unique personality who will be greatly missed.

mooman


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Subject: RE: Alex Glasgow
From: IanC
Date: 22 May 01 - 04:01 AM

Hi

There's a recent thread here:

Alex Glasgow

which is quite informative. Perhaps we should continue the discussion in that?

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Alex Glasgow
From: GUEST,GuestrCed2
Date: 22 May 01 - 02:37 PM


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Subject: RE: Obit: Alex Glasgow (1935-2001)
From: Tam the man
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 11:21 AM

I remeber him as a wee boy, when he did School programmes in the 1970's, that is sad, I didn't know.

Tam


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Subject: RE: Obit: Alex Glasgow (1935-2001)
From: GUEST,leedstyke@yahoo.co.uk
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 03:52 AM

The song cycle (for that is what it is) "The tyne Slides By" (written and performed fo rthe BBC series "The Camera and the Song" in the seventies) is a masterpiece.

It is included in the recordings available from MWM. All credit to this company - with whom by the way I have no links, so don't get a fee for this! - for keeping the great man's music in the catalogue.

Anybody know any more about Alex's life down under?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Alex Glasgow (1935-2001)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Mar 06 - 08:13 AM

How unlike the homelife of our own dear queen!

Saddly missed


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Subject: RE: Obit: Alex Glasgow (1935-2001)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 11:27 AM


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